Lorenzo and Rossi Endure a Race of Attrition in Le Mans
Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi endured a nightmare race today in the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France. Having enjoyed a dry track for both practice and qualifying the riders had to contend with full wet conditions to start today's race.
Lorenzo started from second on the grid and was able to hold behind race leader Andrea Dovizioso initially until passed by Dani Pedrosa with 26 laps to go. As the laps wound down the reigning World Champion gradually dropped position, fighting a wet but slowly drying track with a less than optimum set up. Lorenzo eventually crossed the line in seventh place to claim nine Championship points that keep him in third position in the overall standings.
Rossi made a strong start from eighth on the grid and had moved up to fourth position by the second lap after some swift passes. The Italian was able to find a good race pace and was able to hold on in fourth with the potential to fight for the podium until a strange low side crash with 11 laps remaining of the race. Ross remounted and re-joined, nursing his damaged M1 home in 12th position to take four Championship points and sit in fifth in the overall standings.
Crutchlow claims heroic career best result in Le Mans
Cal Crutchlow produced the ride of his MotoGP career in Le Mans today to claim a heroic podium in the home race of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team.
Just 24 hours after a heavy practice crash left him with a fracture in his right leg, the British rider showed amazing skill, concentration and courage to finish second in a 28-lap race run in the toughest conditions imaginable.
Crutchlow was the lead Yamaha rider home at the end of a race that started on a perilously slippery and wet surface after heavy rain fell in the build-up. Visibility and calculating grip levels were major early challenges but Crutchlow quickly gained his confidence and he sliced through the field with some outstanding overtakes.
The 27-year-old stormed through from seventh to second with measured moves on reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso, an impressive feat considering how tough it was to master constantly changing conditions and grip levels on a rapidly drying track.
Crutchlow’s career best MotoGP result and first rostrum of 2013 was secured on lap 24 when he attacked former Tech 3 teammate Dovizioso and today’s outstanding performance moved the former World Supersport Champion into fourth place in the World Championship standings with four of 18 rounds completed.
A career best MotoGP result to date was also being hailed on the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team garage after Bradley Smith raced his YZR-M1 to a determined ninth position.
The slippery track surface had an immediate impact on Smith’s race. He suffered a big rear tyre slide while accelerating off the line and it was only the lightning reflexes of the 22-year-old that saved him from a fall.
He dropped right to the back of the field but despite only having very limited experience of the YZR-M1 in wet conditions, Smith’s recent attempts to smoothen his riding style proved vital this afternoon.
Smith quickly established a fast rhythm and as his confidence grew he was able to deliver a fantastic fight back into the top 10. His rousing recovery to ninth moves him to the brink of the top 10 in the World Championship classification on 17 points.